Grove — Esther Kinsky

A book about grief. It’s a woman’s account of her travels alone around Italy some time after her partner has died.

It’s not really about the man she has lost (we get minimal information about either of them). Rather, it’s about the quality life has following a bereavement. The stage — or dimension — of it that is beyond raw devastation at the fact that a person you love no longer physically exists. It is the horror at realising all the things you will never remember; of coming to terms with the fallibility of your memory.

So: it’s profoundly sad. But it’s also very meditative — full of gorgeous, detailed description of landscapes, nature and quiet, empty towns. There are also moments of glorious wit in some of her observations about people and their idiosyncrasies.

If you’re in the mood for something slow and meandering, beautiful and human, give it a go. For me, it was just the thing to follow a pacy page-turner.

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